Home is the place where habits are formed. Home is the place where the foundations of character are laid. Home gives the bias to our tastes, likings, and opinions. See then, I pray you, that there be careful training at home (J.C. Ryle).
It was an ordinary day with ordinary errands to run. It began as an ordinary conversation with my five-year-old daughter while making our way through a grocery store parking lot to a parking spot.
I cannot recall how we got to this point, but somehow in the conversation, she excitedly said, “I know lots of things about God!” My initial response was as any parent would likely respond, “Oh, really? What can you tell me about God?”
She began to tell me how good God is, how big God is, how He never makes mistakes, how He cannot get hurt, except when Jesus died on the cross. She began to tell me that she knew He was one God and three Persons, naming the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As she continued to talk and to share her knowledge of God, I slowly pulled into a vacant parking spot with a smile on my face. It brought great joy to have this conversation with her and to hear these things coming from my five-year-old daughter.
But what soon followed would turn my smile to tears and to a deeper understanding of the importance of these conversations. As I turned around to acknowledge her response, she looked back at me and said, “Everything I learned about God, I know from you. You told me.”
Training Our Children in God’s Ways
Matthew Henry is quoted as saying, “We best oppose error by promoting a solid knowledge of the word of truth. The greatest kindness we can do to children is to make them early to know the Bible.”
The Bible contains the truth that we are to teach our children. The Word of God is not silent about the interactions between parents and their children regarding God’s instruction and His teachings.
It is absolutely vital that we as parents play a proactive role in the lives of our children in teaching them the truth contained in the Word of God and in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Though Sunday school teachers and pastors also play a vital role in the spiritual development of our children, the most influential people in the life of a child are their parents.
Proverbs 16:22 is a well-known verse in the Bible concerning children, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
We want our children to not veer from the way of the Lord, and though we cannot constantly guard their footsteps and their choices, we can consistently teach them the truth, and not only that, but we are to model it in our personal conduct before our children.
As parents, we would prefer to be flawless before them, but it is important for us to remember that our children will learn from us even in our weaknesses. This is part of training them up in the way they should go.
When we model to them the importance of asking for forgiveness and acknowledging legitimate wrongdoing, then they learn the value of forgiving others and treating others as they would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
Generations Reaping from Conversations
In Deuteronomy 11:19, we read how God instructs the people of Israel in remembering His words and in telling the coming generations who had not physically witnessed these things with their own eyes, the ways of God and His commandments.
Prior to this verse, He tells them to fix His words in their hearts and minds. God was instructing His people to love Him and to be changed inwardly by His instruction and devotion to Him as their God.
In verse 19, God tells them, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” It would be difficult for the fathers to teach their children something that was not already written upon their own minds and hearts.
God wanted His people to remember what He had done for them and to keep it ever before them so that they would not forsake His ways (Deuteronomy 4:9,10).
Much like the Israelites in the Old Testament, we are to be reminded of His Word and to have it written on our hearts and in our minds. We are to testify to our children who God is and what He had done.
We are to testify of Jesus Christ before them, and it is never too early to begin doing this. We have a great mission field before us as parents, and the harvest is ripe. The world understands the value of molding young minds.
We should as well. And our ministry to our children that has been entrusted into our care by Almighty God is for them and for their children. Think about it.
Every meaningful conversation that you have with your son or daughter about Jesus Christ and the reason why He came to redeem us contributes to the potential of your future or current grandchildren hearing the gospel.
It all starts with these conversations with our kids, simply reading the Bible to them and telling them the truth about God and who He is. Psalm 78:6 says, “So the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”
We tell our children so that their confidence will be in God and so they will understand and remember His ways and His works. Ephesians 6:4 tells us not to stir our children to wrath but to raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We do not have a worldly manual that comes with our children when they are born, but we, as believers in Christ, can have confidence in the Lord and in His instruction provided to us in His Word in how to raise our children.
That conversation with my daughter is certainly one of those moments that will remain with me for a long time, and my prayer is that it also remains with her as well and that this conversation is the first of many with my children.
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Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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